Mar 082013

Marple’s Letter, which analyzed the Pacific Northwest economy for generations of business leaders, has succumbed. The final issue was dated March 6. The newsletter’s passing, a few weeks shy of its 64th anniversary, was due to declining circulation.

Editor Jim Murez and Publisher Jon Anderson wrote that despite their best efforts, they were unable to arrest a persistent decline in subscriber numbers, and that as a result continued publication was “no longer viable.” Subscribers will be reimbursed for undelivered issues.

The letter was founded by the late Elliot Marple, Seattle-based freelance business writer and “stringer” (non-employee correspondent) for Business Week, Advertising Age, The Bond Buyer and many trade-specific publications. It was known over the years as Marple’s Business Roundup, Marple’s Business Newsletter, Marple’s Pacific Northwest Letter, and Marple’s Northwest Business Letter. It was published alternate Wednesdays.

Marple’s covered economic, business and industry trends in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. It tallied purchases and sales of stock by officers and directors of Pacific Northwest public companies. It regularly summarized earnings of Pacific Northwest banks. It also profiled public Pacific Northwest companies that might be of interest to investor-subscribers.

I am saddened by the newsletter’s demise. I began working for Mr. Marple in 1977, and was editor, publisher and owner of the letter from March 1980 through August 2009. The letter was a major part of my life’s work.

In this age of information available instantly at your fingertips, much of it free, subscription-based periodical publishing has never been more difficult. I salute the professionals who — despite long odds — generously invested their talent, time and capital to keep the letter going until now.

I take comfort in the fact that Marple’s Letter outlived countless periodicals, from similar regional newsletters to iconic national publications such as the print edition of Newsweek. Times change. The wisdom of Ecclesiastes — “There is a time for everything . . . ” — endures.

— 30 —

  2 Responses to “Marple’s Letter, 1949-2013”

  1. Sorry to read your post. Much of your life was in the news letter. Yes, there is a time for everything, endings included. Blessings, David

  2. Marple’s was a priority when it arrived at my office every other week for more than 30 years. While there are merits to internet access to information, by my lights they are not a perfect substitute for a second set of eyes searching the region for new developments. For me, Marple’s was that second set of eyes. My father purchased my first subscription as a Christmas gift years ago and, when I received the gift, he insightfully noted “If you spend 5-10 minutes scanning each issue as it arrives, over time you will find, as I have, that not infrequently it will provide you information that proves invaluable. That information may be something directly related to your work, or it may be information which you pass to another (give them yoiur copy, or request Marple’s forward them an issue, don’t photocopy it, it’s their property by copyright). Those who you send copies to will be grateful and it will build your contacts in the business community over time, which is a good thing.” His words proved true, time and again. Finally, I found having access to Marple’s editor, Mike Parks, helpful on several occasions – I needed information, gave him a call, and in a matter of minutes he dug up and provided me with just the right info. For a number of reasons, I will miss Marple’s, as it will not be easily replaced. If I were to have one wish, it would be that they syndicate and publish bi-weekly through established daily papers in the PNW –
    Best to Mr. Parks and others at Marple’s, and thanks for the years of informative reporting.
    Scott H. Pattison
    Port of Seattle

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